Volume 6, No. 7 - July 2017

In The Know

- Keeping you informed is what it's all about

Prohibited Bail Bond Agency Personnel

The following persons are prohibited from owning or being employed by a bail bond agency. Refer to sections 648.285, F.S. and 648.44(2), F.S.

  • Jailers or persons employed in any jail
  • Police officers or employees of a law enforcement agency
  • Judges, employees of a court, or employees of the clerk of any court
  • Sheriffs and deputy sheriffs or employees of any sheriff’s Department
  • Attorneys
  • Persons having the power to arrest or persons who have authority over or control of prisoners
  • Any person who has been convicted or pleaded guilty or no contest to a felony or a crime involving moral turpitude
  • Any person who previously had their license to be a limited surety (bail bond) agent, temporary bail bond agent or professional bail bond agent revoked.

General Lines Agents - Lawful Fees

MVR Fee

As an agent, you or your agency may charge a consumer the actual cost of the motor vehicle report (MVR) for each licensed driver. The amount of the fee may not exceed the agent’s actual cost in obtaining the report which is not otherwise compensated. However, you may not include subscription or access fees associated with obtaining the MVR in the cost to the consumer. See s.627.7295(5)(b), F.S.

Policy Fee

A licensed general lines agent may charge a per-policy fee not to exceed $10 to cover the administrative costs of the agent associated with selling the motor vehicle insurance policy if the policy covers only personal injury protection coverage as provided by s. 627.736 and property damage liability coverage as provided by s. 627.7275 and if no other insurance is sold or issued in conjunction with or collateral to the policy. The fee is not considered part of the premium. See s.627.7295(5)(b), F.S.

Credit Card Fee

If a credit card company charges a fee for payments of policies/premiums, then in accordance with s.626.9541(1)(o)2., F.S., a licensed agent may charge “ . . . the exact amount of any discount or other such fee charged by a credit card facility in connection with the use of a credit card, as authorized by subparagraph (q)3., in addition to the premium required by the insurer.”

Section 626.9541(1)(q)3., F.S. states, “A licensed agent or insurer may solicit or negotiate insurance; seek or accept applications for insurance; issue or deliver any policy; receive, collect, or transmit premiums, to or for an insurer; or otherwise transact insurance in this state, or relative to a subject of insurance resident, located, or to be performed in this state, through the arrangement or facilities of a credit card facility or organization, for the purpose of insuring credit card holders or prospective credit card holders if:

a. The insurance or policy which is the subject of the transaction is noncancelable by any person other than the named insured, the policyholder, or the insurer;

b. Any refund of unearned premium is made to the credit card holder by mail or electronic transfer; and

c. The credit card transaction is authorized by the signature of the credit card holder or other person authorized to sign on the credit card account.”

See s.626.9541(1)(q), F.S.

Life and Health Advertising

Life and health advertising must have the prior approval of the benefiting insurance company before being disseminated. Any advertisements approved by the insurer should be used exactly as approved. See Rule 69B-150.013(10), F.A.C.

When advertising for life, health or annuity products, if there is a reference in the advertisement to a specific policy feature, interest or bonus rate, premium amount, etc., the name of the insurer issuing the policy needs to be disclosed in the advertisement. Furthermore, that insurer needs to approve the advertisement prior to dissemination. Making any alterations to an advertisement that has already been approved by the insurer could cause it to no longer be compliant. See 69B-150.013(10) and 69B-150.114, F.A.C.

Filing Florida Home State Policies ~ A Reminder from the Florida Surplus Lines Service Office

As a reminder, please note that all multistate policies issued or renewed on or after June 1, 2016, and any subsequent endorsements to those policies, for which Florida is the home state should be filed with FSLSO. Pursuant to Florida Statute 626.932(3), Florida will continue to tax premium exposures for multistate policies at the rate of the state in which the risk or exposure is located. This information was previously issued in Bulletin 2016-03.

Again, the only change that took place on June 1, 2016, is multistate policies where Florida is the home state, are now filed directly with FSLSO. New and renewal multistate policies with an effective date of 6/1/2016 or after should be filed in FSLSO SLIP by clicking on New Multistate Policy under the Policy tab or through XML Batch filing.

Based on recent feedback we have received, we want to reiterate that multistate policies can be filed through XML Batch. For more information regarding filing multistate policies through XML Batch, please email techsupport@fslso.com.

If you have ever filed in the Clearinghouse, please make sure you did not miss the bulletin on its discontinuation issued earlier this month. You can access the bulletin here: Bulletin 2017-01.

As always, if you have any questions, please email easy@fslso.com or call our office at 800.562.4496, Option 1.

Public Adjusters ~ Legislative Changes 2017

A few changes were made to public adjuster statutes during this year's legislative session. We'd like to remind our licensees that the new laws are not effective until January 1, 2018.

"48-hour rule" - Section 626.854(6), F.S., repealed

Contract Cancellation - Section 626.854(6), F.S.

The new law regarding the cancellation of contracts removes the phrase “by phone or in writing.” This was done because the existing law limits the methods that trigger the clock regarding the ability to cancel a public adjuster’s contract.

Public Adjuster Fees - Section 626.854(10), F.S.

A new paragraph, 626.854(10)(c), was added clarifying that fees cannot be charged on the deductible portion of a claim. Charging a fee on the deductible was never permitted and it was not a common practice. The Department received sufficient complaints on the issue to warrant seeking clarification through legislation. The change strengthens the Department’s position on the issue.

Public Adjuster Contract/Power of Attorney - Section 626.854(17), F.S.

Under the current law, public adjusters are prohibited from entering into a contract that grants them the authority to decide who will perform repair work for a claim.

However, it does not prohibit them from choosing who will perform other duties at claimant expense. These duties could include, water remediation, mold testing, or other similar actions.

The new language extends the prohibition to any duty or service which will create additional out-of-pocket expenses for the claimant.

Unlicensed Public Adjusting - Section 626.854(19), F.S.

Currently, there are no laws which specifically prohibit unlicensed public adjusting. Unlicensed activity is prohibited in general under s. 626.112(1)(a), F. S. However, there was no language in the insurance adjuster statutes that specifically prohibited unlicensed public adjusting.

By adding this new language, which mirrors language already in place for other licensees, the Department clarifies the prohibition against unlicensed public adjusting and strengthens the Department’s authority to pursue those who engage in the practice.

Public Adjuster Apprentices

The 2017 Legislative Session saw the repeal of s. 626.8541, F.S., effectively doing away with the Public Adjuster Apprentice license. The change creates a new appointment type under the all-lines adjuster license. Individuals wishing to become an apprentice will need to be licensed as an all-lines adjuster and then get appointed as an apprentice by a public adjuster or public adjusting firm. The new language is also more specific in defining the role of the apprentice. Additional key changes to the apprentice program are:

• Reduction of the apprenticeship from 12 months to 6 months
• Elimination of the requirement to work a minimum of 100 hours per month
• Reduces the number of apprentices in an adjusting firm from 12 to 4
• Reduces the number of apprentices for an individual adjuster from 3 to 1
• Clarifies that the supervising adjuster is liable for the actions of the apprentice
• Eliminates the requirement for direct supervision when an apprentice is soliciting new business. However, an apprentice is still prohibited from executing contracts for the services of a public adjuster or public adjusting firm.

For more information, please view Chapter No. 2017-147, Laws of Florida.

The 2017 Florida Statutes Are Available Online

The Florida Statutes can be viewed at Online Sunshine - Title XXXVII Insurance.